Radio transmission lives on
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In addition to Field Day, NARC is a community service organization that volunteers during marathons and other sports events throughout New York. Martens said that more than 400 amateur radio operators from around the tri-state area helped keep runners safe during the New York City marathon last fall by exchanging communications about injuries and other emergencies. (Martens was stationed at mile 19.) They played a similar role during this year’s Long Island marathon.
Martens became interested in communications during his nearly 35-year career in the Marine Corps. “Back in ’63, I was a radiotelegraph operator,” he recounted. “I operated Morse code.” He also served as a naval gunfire responder in Vietnam in 1965, but it wasn’t until 2006 that he became a licensed amateur radio operator and a Community Emergency Response Team member.
While many members of NARC are retirees, Martens is attempting to recruit younger members. “Young people don’t get involved anymore,” he said, adding, “Everybody was old [when I joined]. Now I’m one of them.”
East Meadow resident Jon Goldenberg was one of the members taking part when Field Day kicked off last Saturday, and he started in a Morse code tent. His uncle, Abe Kobr, introduced him to radios when Jon was a kid, and he earned his operator’s license by age 11.
Goldenberg said that fellowship and an interest in technology stirred his involvement in radio operations, but he also thanked his spouse for backing his hobby. “I have a supportive wife who lets me put antennas all over the house,” he said.
NARC member Mike Kozma, of Rockville Centre, designed the five antennas the club used to transmit signals during Field Day. With some help, he built and erected two multi-band antennas, one Yagi antenna -- a beam antenna that radiates power in one direction -- and two single-band antennas. After designing antennas for the military as an electronics engineer, Kozma said, he joined the club in 1990 and has been involved ever since.